Friday, May 22, 2015

Four Confronting Meetings...


It's been a long week. Looking back, I realised I'd had four confronting meetings this week - which would explain why I feel so tired today.

On Tuesday, I had a meeting at Uni with the manager of the Student Association about the behaviour of another student at the university towards me and a friend of mine. The other student basically lost the plot over a situation which was not of mine or my friend's doing, but as we were the only people in the student's vicinity at the time, we found ourselves in the firing line of rude and aggressive behaviour. Hopefully, in the wake of the meeting on Tuesday, there will be no repeat of that situation. For me, it was particularly distressing as I felt nailed to the ground, unable to move out of the person's way as they were abruptly moving furniture around me, apparently unaware of how this would impact me with low vision (this person knows me quite well, but they were not in control of themselves at the time).

On Wednesday, I had a much more pleasant, but still very confronting, meeting between myself and a guide dog handler. This was the very first step on the path to getting my own guide dog, and I'm so freaking excited about it! I don't go anywhere on my own anymore. My sight continues to deteriorate and with that I find I'm losing confidence. So, I only going out when someone can accompany me. I have started using a cane in recent months, but canes have their pros and cons. For me, one of the cons is the stimulation of the vibration caused by the cane being in contact with ground. Those vibrations in my hands really irritate me - much like when someone is sitting at a table with you and jiggling their knee and the table is rattling. Argh! Even describing it irritates me.

Anyway, the main reason Wednesday's meeting was confronting was that for years I've known my vision would deteriorate in my forties and fifties, but that was always some time in the future. The meeting on Wednesday made the future very much a matter of here and now. As well as that, the meeting was a bit like an interview, assessing my appropriateness for a guide dog. I passed the first round, and so I'm off to guide dog training school a week from Monday, to spend three days gaining hands on experience with a dog to see if I'm still suitable to go on the waiting list. They have to make sure I'm fit enough to have a dog, but also that I don't see too much to have a dog (if I see too much, I may be inclined to override the dogs training, rather than trusting the dog), and also to check that I have enough mobility skills without a dog to be in charge of a dog, that I'm not too reliant on the dog to make all the decisions.

The training programs are live in. So, first I'll live in for three days and two nights but then - if I go on the waiting list - when they find a dog they think will suit me (based on the dog's temperament, speed of walking, and also on any preferences I have for male/female. black/gold, escalator confident/not etc.) I will spend a further three weeks at live-in training with the dog (Monday to Friday, weekends at home).

Obviously, this now almost doubles the time I will be away from uni (and away from the Grumpy Old Man and the kids) in the second half of the year - from 4 weeks to 7 weeks, which will further push back my completion date. But, really, what can I do, I need this assistance and therefore I need this training. All quite confronting.

Thursday was the meeting with the primary school staff about moving the boys. While I sat out in the car with the kids, I still felt the full force of the confrontation in that I knew, pretty much, what the official school standpoint would be - and I was right. And it is both frustrating and disappointing.

Today, the Grumpy Old Man and I had a meeting at the high school with Erik, the principal and Erik's head of house. Primarily this was over an incident involving Erik and mate three weeks ago (which I won't go into), but also a discussion about how Erik is going overall with his studies because he's let a few assessments slide in Art Studio, which a VCE unit, and therefore attracts more attention if the kids slack off (he is actually doing better overall this year than last year, particularly in philosophy, but as Art is usually his best subject, I guess the staff are surprised he is dropping the ball).

I wish there was an injection parents could give teenagers to inspire them. Some teens are naturally inspired to pursue activities about which they feel passionate. Erik is talented in art, but I'm just not sure how passionate he is about it. The reason he gave for not handing in the assessments was that he knew they would be very easy to do (not challenging) and so he procrastinated on them. Sure, I get that. I have two flashes to hand in this afternoon, but haven't started on them, BUT he doesn't just do stuff last minute, he simply doesn't do it at all. Our high school is big on their students being self-motivated, but as the principal put it, Erik is still thinking 'old school'. Instead of going to staff and saying, 'I really want to do X!', he is resisting doing the stuff they ask him to do which doesn't inspire him. It's very frustrating.

So, that is the big week of meetings. I feel very drained, but life goes on and so must I.

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Good Job!